Washington/Baltimore area airports saw travelers leave tens of thousands of dollars behind at checkpoints in FY 2019

Local Press Release
Friday, August 21, 2020

WASHINGTON — Air travelers left nearly $1 million behind at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport checkpoints in fiscal year 2019, as reported in the annual “Unclaimed Money at Airports” report submitted to Congress, with airports in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area high on the list of airports that saw the most money left behind. TSA plans to use the unclaimed money towards providing critical aviation security programs.

During FY 2018, TSA collected $926,030.44 in unclaimed money, including $18,899.09 in foreign currency. It marked a decrease in the amount of unclaimed money collected in FY18 when $960,105.49 was left behind.

Washington Dulles International Airport topped the list of airports in the Baltimore-Washington area with the amount of unclaimed money at $26,968.95. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport saw $16,414.70 in unclaimed cash and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport saw $13,207.46 in money left behind at checkpoints last fiscal year.

TSA makes every effort to reunite passengers with items they have left at checkpoints, but there are instances where loose change or other items go unclaimed. Typically, that means loose change that travelers remove from their pockets and place in checkpoint bins. Sometimes that means unmarked envelopes of cash. 

Unfortunately, it is easy for passengers to accidentally leave items, including wallets and loose change, in bins. This is because if an advertisement is at the bottom of a bin, a traveler who glances into the bin for anything remaining may be distracted by the advertisement and not realize there is some change in the bin. Also, travelers who use multiple bins may stack the bins, walk over to the side to sit down to put on shoes, return laptops to their carry-on bags and not realize that the bin at the bottom of their stack still has some change in the bottom. For these reasons, TSA recommends that travelers remove items from their pockets and place those items directly into their carry-on bags so that the items will not be left behind.

The last six fiscal years of loose change at airport checkpoints (October 1 to September 30):

FY 2013 – $638,142.64

FY 2014 – $674,841.06

FY 2015 – $765,759.15

FY 2016 – $867,812.39

FY 2017 – $866,839.56

FY 2018 –  $960,105.49

Top 5 airports where travelers have left change at checkpoints in FY 19